02 Dec The 12 Stouts of Christmas Returns at Field Brewing in Westfield
Ok, the holidays can now officially begin – Field Brewing in Westfield is getting ready to start their 12 Stouts of Christmas. Head Brewer Rian Umbach has stretched his brain for this second year of variants on their stout, even though some of the most popular variants are back from last year.
Rian was trained at several strong breweries, and served as head brewer at Christian Moerlein Lager House in Cincinnati before moving to Westfield. This means that he 1) knows how to make good beer, 2) knows and appreciates that quality ingredients lead to quality beer, and 3) has the imagination to make innovative beers while still holding to the spirit of making beers that are beers.
The base beer for the 12 Stouts of Christmas again this year is the Black Friday stout, with a tweak here and there to the recipe for the new version. There are no fewer than eight grains in this stout, including chocolate wheat malt, honey malt, and flaked oats. This gives it a smooth mouth feel to go along with a lighter body and rich tones of roast and chocolate. It’s not an overpowering stout with ultra-high gravity; this is more of a Guinness-like feel with a bit more sweetness to it.
With this as a base, Rian has let his imagination run wild for the 12 variants, to be put on draft in succession. Unlike last year when the next was put on immediately after the previous variant blew, this year’s celebration will be a bit more predictable. One stout will be tapped every other day, starting on December 1st.
Take a look at the list below for the dates and variants, but please note that there is only one sixtel (5.16 gallons) of each variant, so I wouldn’t dawdle each time the new one comes out. If there happens to be anything left in the sixtel when he puts the new on two days later, he’ll save it for after Christmas, but I wouldn’t count on that happening.
Rian has reached into his bag of goodies for these variants, but know that he is picky about those things he uses. No syrups or flavorings, he goes with all natural ingredients like fruits, herbs, spices, and perhaps a veggie or two. He sources locally when at all possible, and the result is that the care he puts into the making of the beer can be tasted in the final products.
So what does he have planned for us? There are great beers all down the list, but look for them to build a bit in exoticness (is that a word? Exoticity??) as the month progresses. Take a look and plan your trips:
December 1: Mocha Coffee – Cocoa nibs and cold pressed coffee.
December 3: Root Beer – infused with all the ingredients of a real root beer
December 5: Thin Mint– Real mint sprigs and cocoa nibs. Easily one of the most popular variants last year, and one of our two winners of the Girl Scout Cookie and Beer Pairing contest last year.
December 7: Cherry Cordial – Cherries, vanilla bean, and cocoa nibs.
December 9: Mexican Chocolate – A chocolate herbal showcase including cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, and black pepper.
December 11: Cinnamon Persimmon – Infused with local persimmon pulp and cinnamon spice. (personal note, I’m going to drink all of this one)
December 13: Apple Pie A’la Mode – Real apples, cinnamon and vanilla.
December 15: Chocolate Orange – Cocoa nibs and orange zest.
December 17: Ginger Snap – Real ginger cinnamon, vanilla and spices.
December 19: Figgy Pudding – Mission figs, vanilla, and spices.
December 21: Coconut Chocolate Cherry – Exactly what it sounds like.
December 23: Egg Nog – Probably most excited about this one. Vanilla bean, lactose, nutmeg, cinnamon, and aged with rum barrel chips. (OK, this will insure that I get my shopping done early, so I can just sit in the taproom for the two days before Christmas)
Get out early and often to Field and thank Rian for making our holiday just that much more special. My Christmas wish for next year is that there will be crowlers or cans of these beers.